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State survey finds only minor deficiency at Trenton Health & Rehabilitation

By Crystal Burns

The grill was smoking, and employees were smiling at Trenton Health &Rehabilitation Thursday.

Administrator Wally Vernon treated the staff to a special lunch of grilled steak, chicken and shrimp to celebrate the facility’s highly successful state survey, which revealed only one minor deficiency. Residents would enjoy a celebration of their own Friday.

“One [deficiency] is very unusual,” Vernon said. “Here lately, surveys have been really tough statewide, especially here in West Tennessee.”

Vernon, however, was even prouder of the state inspectors’ assertion that Trenton Health & Rehabilitation has the happiest residents in any of the buildings they investigated. He credits a number of factors for residents’ satisfaction – the individual and group activities offered, good food, the environment and the care the staff shows.

“People are nice to you,” he said. “It all boils down to treat people like their members of your family.”

Katie Burke, RN, the community liaison for Trenton Health & Rehabilitation, said state inspections are incredibly detailed and never announced. Inspectors arrived in Trenton at 7:30 a.m. on a Monday morning and stayed until Wednesday evening. During that time, they reviewed all of the facility’s medical records and observed randomly selected staff members performing all nursing skills. Inspectors also pulled patients randomly to review their records and ask them about their experience at Trenton Health.

“It’s a three-phase process,” Burke said. “They review. They investigate, and they watch.”

Burke said in addition to caring for residents, the staff caters to their friends and family.

“We take care of the entire patient,” she said. “It’s personalized [care].”

“We have to be better than our competition to survive,” Vernon added. “We try to make [our facility] as much like home as possible. We try to make it truly like living at home, and everybody is nice to you.”

Burke spends a lot of her time educating the public on how the nursing home industry works, explaining that patients have options for short-term rehabilitation and don’t have to use hospital swing beds if they would rather be closer to home.

“We want the community to feel comfortable [with our services],” she said. “Use what you’ve got. Shop local and stay local.”

“We definitely understand people want to be home as long as they can be,” Vernon said. “But when you can’t be, we’re here for you.”

For more information about Trenton Health & Rehabilitation, call 731-855-4500 or visit

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